26 Feb 2021
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Game review: Tales from the Borderlands (Xbox Series X)

By Damian Seeto

2K Games has decided to re-release an old 2014 game called Tales from the Borderlands. This is a game developed by Telltale Games, and it’s a decision-based adventure.

If you want to play Tales from the Borderlands right now, the game has been re-released for PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One. The game is also playable on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S via backwards compatibility. 

Surprisingly, my knowledge of the Borderlands franchise is pretty minimal. I never played the main trilogy, although I did review Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel from a few years ago. Tales from the Borderlands is a bit different as it’s a decision-based game and not an FPS like the other games in the series. 

Telltale Games was a game studio that made a ton of decision-based games based on properties including Batman, Minecraft and more. Sadly, the studio closed, but it’s cool that 2K Games has brought this game back from the dead.

What I like most about Tales from the Borderlands is the fact that you don’t need prior knowledge of the other games to enjoy this. This game has new characters and a fresh story of its own, so newcomers like me can still play through it. 

Anyway, the game revolves around two unique characters named Rhys and Fiona. Rhys is introduced first, and he’s a Hyperion employee. Life doesn’t go his way when he’s demoted by his new boss named Hugo Vasquez. 

Fiona is a con-artist trying to make a living in the rough planet named Pandora. Rhys and Fiona’s paths cross when some of the bad guys want 10 million dollars that was stolen. The story has some twists and turns along the way when the team has to look for a Vault full of treasure. 

I will admit the first episode starts off slow as I wasn’t engaged with the story in the first hour. That being said, the story and characters get more likeable as the game progresses. I think the best episode out of the whole series is episode 5. 

Much like many other Telltale Games, Tales from the Borderlands plays more like an interactive movie. You will have to choose the dialogue the characters will say most of the time, and you will also have to do many quick-time events.

If you love FPS style games, you may not like the slower pace of this game. Sure the game does have some action sequences, although they are short-lived most of the time. If you want to play a game that features all-out action, you’re better off playing the main series instead. 

I will say that some of the quick-time events can get annoying. For example, I would press a button wrong and some of the characters died, resulting in a game over screen. It’s not too hard, although it can be frustrating if you keep missing the button prompts in some sections. 

A lot of the time, you’re just selecting dialogue for the characters to say. What you say and choose is important because your decisions affect the outcome of the game. Some characters may like your choices, while others may hate you forever. 

The best episode is by far the last one at episode 5. I don’t want to spoil too much of it, although it plays out like an episode of Power Rangers or Pacific Rim. Giving you the chance to pilot a huge robot to fight a monster is always an enjoyable time for me!

Graphically, Tales from the Borderlands holds up even though it’s a game from 2014 — mainly because it uses 2D style character models and environments. The game also loads super fast now if you’re playing the game on Xbox Series X like I was. 

As a whole, Tales from the Borderlands is a fine game if you love the decision-based genre. It may not be for everyone, but people who like the Borderlands franchise will love this spin-off title. 

Verdict: 8.0/10

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